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In 2015, Tom Petty opened up about one of his career regrets: the Confederate flag.

'When they wave that flag, they aren't stopping to think how it looks to a black person.'

In 2015, Tom Petty opened up about one of his career regrets: the Confederate flag.
Petty performs in 2014. Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images.

Legendary musician Tom Petty passed away Monday, Oct. 2, 2017 at age 66. During his more than 40 years making music, Petty won three Grammys, earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was a true icon who helped shape the future of rock and roll.

There's no shortage of positive stories and playful anecdotes about the singer being shared in the wake of his death, but there's one story in particular that stands out for its humanity as well as its connection to current events.


That story, of course, is about the time Tom Petty expressed regret for his early-career use of Confederate flag imagery.

In 1985, Petty released an album called "Southern Accents."

Originally from Gainesville, Florida, Petty set off to make a concept record about the South — though he later admitted that it lost that "concept" thread along the way. In marketing the record and the tour that followed its release, Petty made use of some pretty heavy Confederate flag imagery.

Petty in a 1986 documentary about the making of "Southern Accents." Image via Richard Schenkman/Vimeo.

30 years after the record came out, Petty sat down with Rolling Stone to discuss the Confederate flag, saying he had a few regrets about his relationship to the symbol.

In the interview, which took place hours after South Carolina decided to remove the flag from its statehouse grounds in 2015, Petty showed himself as a man unafraid to admit his mistakes. Describing the flag as "the wallpaper of the South" when he was growing up, Petty explained that in 1985, he hadn't really put a whole lot of thought into what it symbolized.

Two years after he and the band had stopped touring in support of that specific record, Petty noticed more and more fans at his shows were showing up decked out in Confederate memorabilia.

"One night, someone threw [a Confederate flag] onstage," he recalled. "I stopped everything and gave a speech about it. I said, 'Look, this was to illustrate a character. This is not who we are. Having gone through this, I would prefer it if no one would ever bring a Confederate flag to our shows again because this isn't who we are.'"

Petty's moment of self-reflection is a lesson for us all.

Recognizing our mistakes, and correcting for them is one of the most important things we can do as human beings. It's how we grow as people and as a society.

Petty noted that he did find it kind of bizarre that the U.S. seems to be one of the only places where citizens continue to fly the flag of an unrecognized "country" that went to war here and lost but that he understands its contemporary use doesn't necessarily stem from a hateful or racist place. Still, he hoped that others would rethink their support for it, like he did.

Petty performs in 2014. Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images.

"But when [people] wave that flag, they aren't stopping to think how it looks to a black person," he wrote. "I blame myself for not doing that. I should have gone around the fence and taken a good look at it. ... It was dumb and it shouldn't have happened. Again, people just need to think about how it looks to a black person. It's just awful. It's like how a swastika looks to a Jewish person. It just shouldn't be on flagpoles."

So thank you, Tom Petty — for the music as well as the powerful lessons about empathy and self-reflection.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.